Got a little story for ya Ags. That, my friends, is how Aggies start their stories. If you are not an Aggie you can fill in the blank with sister, momma, friend, brother, Red Raider, or even Long Horn. If you are reading this today, then it’s a little story for you.
It was one of those days where your kids have dentist appointments in North Dallas. It’s raining and you’re swimming against the crowd on Central Expressway…sound familiar? By the time I pulled into the parking lot there were exactly 3 minutes to spare, it was still raining, AND there were no parking spaces. As I turned down an aisle, with a chorus of angels singing and a ray of light from heaven coming down, I spotted one lone parking spot. The Suburban in the parking space adjacent parked all cattywhompus. I remember muttering to myself quietly something to the effect of, “this person needs to learn how to park…grumble grumble.” I had to park, whether there was room or not. I drive a Tahoe so it was tight. Victoriously I parked all cock-eyed myself, but I was in and then came the hurrying and running with the kids so we wouldn’t be late(r). Cut to end of the scene: we had a lovely visit; we got what we came for and it was time to go.
We walked back to the car. The parking space next to me now had a new car parked in it nice and straight, and my Tahoe had a little note on the windshield wiper. My first thought was, “Oh great, someone hit me.” But as I opened the soggy note I read, “YOU NEED TO LEARN HOW TO PARK YOU %#@$ !!!”
I might be laughing now, but that was not the case that afternoon. I went from sick, to mad, to just plain sad. The movie reel in my mind replayed the whole reason I had parked that way in the first place thinking to myself, “If only she had known the whole story.”
As I prayed about this blog post, “Be of good courage” was part of a verse that kept coming to mind. When looking those words up, I found that not only one verse, but many verses contain the same encouragement (Joshua 1:5-6 & 1 Chronicles 28:20).
In most of these examples, the circumstance surrounding the encouragement was strenuous, burdensome, grueling, inconvenient, and maybe even ill-timed. Those listening seriously needed to be reminded to be of good courage—not to be confused with courage in one’s own strength.
Note the definition for the word encouragement according to the Hebrew Greek Study Bible (1991):
– Chāzaq meaning; to be bound fast, be attached; to make firm, support; to preserve; be strong, be courageous, helpful; to conquer; to seize, hold fast, to gird; to encourage. It is a word frequently used to describe battle scenes, and is also used for construction (to build up).
– OR to harden; to be obdurate. Twelve times in the Book of Exodus chāzaq is used in describing the condition of Pharaoh’s heart. Pharaoh was obstinate and reacted negatively to God’s decree. Pharaoh had the choice of compliance with God’s will, but he refused.
Of these two types of courage, where do you find yourself? Like the note writer in my story, I too focused on what was seen, deliberately leaving out the Unseen. It happened to the Israelites (Numbers 13:1-14). It happens to us. I had not taken into account the whole story of that Suburban when I backed into the parking place that day. No, I didn’t write my grumblings out on a piece of paper for someone’s windshield. But as soon as I said to myself, “if only she had known the whole story” in response to the note I received, I was convicted of my own response to the Unseen. The truth is, we are almost never going to know the whole story. This life is hard, and at times it’s going to be bleak, back-breaking, interrupted, or even heartbreaking. Be of good courage my friend! There is peace when courage is bound fast to His promises and His character. Though your parking space drama may disappoint, He does not.
“Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the LORD.” Psalm 31:24
About the Writer:
Mindy Truly is the wife to her patient and much better half – Jeff, and a reluctant (initially) homeschool mom to their 2 sons. She earned her BS in Environmental Design from Texas A&M 8 years prior to being called to leave her safe career to become a stay at home mom – something she had no experience in. For this and several other things the LORD has called her family to do, God has shown Himself faithful to provide for His call. She loves to encourage women with the gospel…the gift that keeps on giving (Colossians 2:6).